This issue starts off really strong and ends strong but I found everything in between to be rather lacking. I will say that now is probably going to be your best chance to jump on board this title if you never have before. Another opportunity like this won’t come around for quite some time. Justice League Beyond kicks off its second arc with this issue, Batman Beyond is ending the epic 10,000 Clowns storyline so you’ll get to see a brand new Terry adventure next month, but admittedly you’ll be someone confused by what’s going on in Superman Beyond if you haven’t heard anything about it before. These three different series have all been highly entertaining so far but cutting their stories up into such teeny tiny bits and passing the collected pieces off as an anthology month after month is making it a difficult monthly comic to recommend. It’s rarely ever accessible to new readers and even the smallest story arcs stretch on for months and it’s easy to forget what happened in the last installment. So… basically if you haven’t read Batman Beyond Unlimited before then I say pick up this issue and see what you think or, perhaps the smarter thing to do would be to just wait for the trades to come out. Those are going to be really excellent.
Justice League Beyond
It was a mistake to open this comic up with Justice League first. Seeing a healthy Bruce and Terry at the beginning of this new arc ruined the tension that’s been stretching on for almost a year’s worth of Batman Beyond comics. Bruce was hospitalized, Terry was injured and about to confront the Joker King, and all we needed was to get its final, incredibly brief finale out of the way first. But even though I found that annoying I don’t think anyone will really be talking about that. The thing that’ll have folks buzzing is the flashback featured in this story that takes us back to that famous scene from Return of the Joker! How did they dispose of Joker’s body? Was the batfamily able to continue on for much longer after the Joker’s death and the assault on Tim Drake? This was really fascinating to see play out and I was almost sad that we had to go back to the Beyond timeline. I’d love to see more of these flashbacks! But best of all, artist Jorge Corona did an excellent job of capturing the look of the animated series. Only when the Justice League themselves showed up later on in the story did they start to look like caricatures of themselves with over-sized heads and itty-bitty necks. Other than that happening in a couple of panels Justice League had some of the best art of this whole comic. However, after the story cut away to Central City things got a little sloppy. The story felt like it had lost focus and was jumping around to as many characters as it possibly could . The dialogue grew less natural and more concerned with delivering one-liners too and I found myself completely losing interest in the tale.
This should’ve been featured in last month’s issue. There were no surprises here. It’s essentially Batman hitting the bad guy one more time and then calling it a day. It will play as a perfectly fine ending when the book goes to trade but it wasn’t worth the 30 day wait to see things play out so quickly and so predictably. The cutaway to Max (just like in the last issue) totally broke up the tension again and felt wholly unnecessary. I think if writer Adam Beechen had cut out all the Max subplot from this arc we could’ve wrapped things up in the last issue and had a much tighter story with greater suspense. Still, it’s without a doubt the 10,000 Clowns saga is without a doubt the best story he and Breyfogle have done together and I look forward to reading it all in one sitting when it’s released as a trade paperback.
Superman fans, read this series! Seriously, I always enjoy this comic. I’ve attempted to get into other Superman titles and never found success but old Superman has been a compelling read from the very beginning and his second arc is proving to be even better than the first. We don’t get much story progression here at all, but one of the villains is further developed and a final page reveal has me extremely excited about what’s to come. There was, however, one scene in which Superman was seeing visions of both his fathers and that confused me a tad. If it was only Jor-El then I would’ve shrugged it off as being part of some Kryptonian lesson implanted in his head being triggered by stress or something, but seeing Pa Kent had me wondering if Superman is simply hallucinating because he was injured so badly (it’s odd to me that Superman Beyond actually got weaker as he got older. I feel like Supes should only become more god-like with time) or if he was seeing ghosts. Either way, it’s a good read but a really short one. I would’ve rather had less Justice League and more Superman in this issue. J.T. Krul knows how to write a good Superman adventure.
Not as wholly entertaining as the past couple of issues but there are plenty of good moments in here to make the book worth your money, especially if you’ve been reading this series since the very beginning. New readers have an opportunity to jump on board the new Justice League arc and get ready for next month’s new Batman Beyond, but really you’d probably be better off waiting for the trade. Seeing the Return of the Joker scenes expanded upon was the real highlight and I think a lot of fans will want to see what happened there.